World Economy

US-China trade war is a 'very low probability,' says top market strategist

Key Points
  • Scott Wren, a senior global equity strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute, says worries of a U.S.-China trade war are overblown. Instead, he expects to see renegotiation.
  • Wren did worry about the White House's proposed tariffs on China for alleged intellectual property theft, and anticipated "some give" in the technology stocks as a result — considering such companies' large lines of business in China.

A full-blown trade war between the United States and China, a worry that sent the averages far into the red on Monday, has a "very low" chance of happening, strategist Scott Wren told CNBC.

As a market-wide sell-off drove stocks down to correction-level lows, Wren said on CNBC's "Fast Money" that China's newly imposed tariffs on U.S. goods were a "mini-shot over the bow" in the broader scope of global trade relations.

"I think we're going to see a lot of extreme targeting of tariffs" played out over the next few years, Wren, a senior global equity strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute, said on Monday.

"The volume of trade between the two countries is obviously huge and what the tariffs are actually on is pretty small, so I don't think we're going to see a big escalation."

Wren told CNBC's Melissa Lee that he expected to see a lot of renegotiation between U.S. and Chinese policymakers in lieu of a more heated battle.

"I think the bottom line for us is that an all-out trade war is a low probability," the strategist said.

Wren did worry about the White House's proposed tariffs on China for alleged intellectual property theft, long a point of tension between the two countries.

The strategist anticipated "some give" in the technology stocks as a result — considering such companies' large lines of business in China.

"They're not about to give up their technology and their rights to [selling into China]," Wren said. "The administration, they need to go after this intellectual property problem because it is a huge problem and if it didn't come to the boiling point now, it certainly would at some point down the road."